Home >> Industry News >> Australian News
Australian News
  • Also available via:

Impact Investors Should Look To Eye Health PDF
Submit Your News
Australian News
Tuesday, 01 December 2015

Impact InvestmentEnding avoidable blindness is an ideal target for impact investors looking for a measureable social benefit as well as a financial return, a new report produced by The Fred Hollows Foundation and the UK organisation Social Finance has revealed. The Power of Impact Investment to Improve Vision report provides new ideas about how eye health can be financed and outlines a number of opportunities for impact investors in the sector.

“Impact investing is profit with purpose. It’s about extending finance to entrepreneurs and enterprises you wouldn’t normally extend it to with the intention of targeting a social outcome while generating a financial return,” Brian Doolan CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation said. “By bringing a market-based approach to help fund the essential services that people in low and middle income countries need, we can change the grant making model of many international development NGOs.”

The report identifies the treatment of cataracts, uncorrected refractive error and trachoma as being particularly well suited to the impact investment model. Treating these prominent causes of avoidable blindness achieves significant social impacts that are easily identifiable and measurable for a relatively low cost. In each case there is a real prospect for a financial return. There are several features of eye care service provision that are well suited to impact investment: there are clearly measurable and attributable social outcomes, and there can be real prospects for financial return. In cataracts, for instance, about 300 social enterprise hospitals already exist that have proven that it is possible to provide free surgeries to the poorest of the poor while also remaining financially solvent through the user fees of other patients.

To date, capital constraints have been the key barrier to greater size and impact of this model. In general, hospitals have had to rely on slow, unreliable or relatively expensive forms of finance, such as donations and grants and local debt to purchase property and equipment. The very purpose of impact investing is to overcome these constraints using existing financial tools, but with a new approach.

“Hospitals receiving loans may not be able to provide investors the same financial return as other investments,” Mr Doolan said. “But they are viable businesses that service a critical need and can provide investors with something else: they can demonstrate a social benefit almost immediately by restoring vision to someone in need. That social impact is valuable and worth something to this new breed of investor.”

With more than 10 million people in developing countries estimated to be blind due to cataract, the potential social and economic impact of turning this around is huge. Impact investment is an emerging market waiting to be tapped and eye health is well placed to capitalise on it.

Optometry Australia and Glaucoma Australia Partner To Increase Awareness of Glaucoma PDF
Submit Your News
Australian News
Wednesday, 25 November 2015

OA GA PartnershipWith the total cost of glaucoma on the Australian economy rising by $120 million per year, two of Australia’s foremost professional associations have established a new partnership to increase awareness of this debilitating eye disease.

Optometry Australia, the peak professional body for optometrists, and Glaucoma Australia, the peak support group for people and families affected by glaucoma, are committed to reducing the visual impact of glaucoma through community information and education.

“Glaucoma is often called the silent thief of sight and it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Many people who develop glaucoma won’t realise that they have it until too late and we want to reverse this trend,” Glaucoma Australia President Ron Spithill OAM, said. Optometry Australia’s CEO Genevieve Quilty said: “It is critical that every Australian has regular eye examinations throughout life so that diseases such as glaucoma can be detected early and suitable treatment programs put in place. Optometrists play a key role in this”.

Ms Quilty said that she was delighted that Optometry Australia and Glaucoma Australia have committed to collaborating and putting joint programs in place to try to prevent this insidious eye disease further infiltrating the lives of Australians.

The two bodies have signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding designed to promote their critical roles in glaucoma detection and management within the community. The MOU is further designed to strengthen the relationship between the two organisations. Tony Gibson OAM, from Eyecare Plus (Mitcham Victoria) said that the “MOU represents an important step for optometrists in recognising the profession’s crucial role in working with Glaucoma Australia for the betterment of glaucoma patients”.

Both organisations have agreed to collaborate on the implementation of patient education systems, to advocate for economically sustainable support for the early detection of the condition and for the collaborative care of people with glaucoma. An estimated 300,000 Australians have glaucoma, but only half have been diagnosed. For the other 150,000 they are living with the risk of progressive vision loss leading to possible blindness. With the total cost economic cost of glaucoma expected to rise to $43 billion by 2025 with the aging of the Australian population, glaucoma doesn’t discriminate.

ODMA Elects New Executive Committee PDF
Submit Your News
Australian News
Wednesday, 18 November 2015

ODMAAt the Optical Distributors & Manufacturers Association (ODMA)'s Annual General Meeting on 11 November, which was attended by 16 of ODMA's 70 members, ODMA's Executive Committee for the next two years was elected as:

  • Richard Grills (Designs For Vision)
  • Mark Altman (Device Technologies)
  • Phuong Nguyen (Essilor Australia)
  • Brad Saffin (General Optical)
  • Craig Chick (Hoya Lens Australia)
  • Lionel Minter (Mimo Australia)
  • Robert Sparkes (Optimed)
  • Nicole Perry (Safilo Australia)
  • Samantha Crooke (Younger Optics)

Robert Sparkes from Optimed was elected unanimously to the Chair at the meeting. He takes over from Richard Grills, the elder statesman and longest serving of the ODMA committee having served on the board since 1996. Richard will remain on the committee for two years to support the new Chairman.

Newly elected board members Brad Saffin, Samatha Crooke, Craig Chick and Mark Altman will commence work for ODMA at a board meeting on December 11, with the first order of business a full review of all past ODMAFAIRs and the tender for ODMA2017.

Older Aussies Seeing Better Future PDF
Submit Your News
Australian News
Wednesday, 04 November 2015

Older AussiesAustralia is now leading the world in protecting older people from the debilitating impacts of wet age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in Australia.

Professor Mark Gillies is lead investigator of the Fight Retinal Blindness! Registry at the Save Sight Institute in Sydney, one of the world's leading groups in the field. He has just released data from the registry at an international congress of eye surgeons in Wellington organised by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

The research shows that Australia achieves significantly better long-term treatment outcomes than Europe or the United States in enabling older Australians with the disease to continue reading and driving. Over 1,000 eyes that had been treated for 5-7 years were studied.

The average Australian patient had vision that was as good as or better than their starting vision for 6 years, compared with 4 years for the United States and 2 years for Europe. 40% of Australian patients still had driving vision after 7 years of treatment compared with only 23% for the United States.

Professor Gillies said “this is an outstanding result as the research shows that the use of carefully managed anti-VEGF injections has enabled 40% of Australian patients with wet macular degeneration to still have driving vision after 7 years of treatment compared with just 23% for the United States.”

Julie Heraghty, CEO of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia said that "Anti-VEGF injections have revolutionised the management of this devastating disease, reducing the financial, social and emotional costs associated with vision loss and blindness. Thousands of Australians are now preserving quality vision thereby maintaining independence and quality of life – something that was unimaginable a decade ago, before this treatment became available."

As most Australians want to keep driving into their 80s, this research shows that you have a far better chance to keep on driving and avoid vision loss from age-related macular degeneration," said Ms Heraghty.

Both Professor Gillies and Ms Heraghty agreed that Australia’s outstanding results are due to a unique combination of high disease awareness, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment and highly skilled specialists providing quality care. In addition, successive Australian governments responding quickly to enable speedy access to sight-saving treatment through reimbursement on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, has been a key driver of success.

Professor Gillies stated that “the undeniable message of this research is that Australia’s approach establishes global best practice by a commitment to raising awareness, early detection and the accessibility and affordability of treatment".

Registered Health Practitioners Continue To Grow in Australia PDF
Submit Your News
Australian News
Tuesday, 03 November 2015

The number of registered health practitioners in Australia continues to grow in new data featured in the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards annual report for 2014/15 published this week. A total of 637,218 health practitioners are registered from 14 different professions in Australia representing overall growth of 2.9% over the past year.

"Information about each of these registered health practitioners is easily available to the community through the national online register." said Martin Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer of AHPRA. "Maintaining an up to date national register is one of the most important ways in which we protect the public."

The annual report outlines AHPRA and the National Board’s activities in 2014/15 and highlights work to:

  • improve our performance and our services
  • how we are using our data to embed risk based approaches to regulation based on clear and transparent principles
  • strengthened public protection through practitioner audit and tougher criminal history checks, and
  • work to improve the practitioner and notifier experience.

AHPRA Agency Management Committee Chair Michael Gorton AM said the focus remains strongly on public safety. The annual report shows an overall decrease in notifications including a decrease in mandatory notifications.

‘We are keeping a close eye on whether this is the start of a trend.’ said Mr Fletcher. ‘We will continue to work with professional bodies, health services and governments to make sure practitioners and employers are aware of their mandatory reporting obligations. In order to protect the public, we cannot act if we don’t know about problems and open reporting is key to this.’

Chair of the Forum of National Board Chairs and Chair of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, Mr Paul Shinkfield, said it had been a landmark year for the 14 National Boards as the National Scheme has now been established for five years. ‘Strong and effective partnerships across National Boards and with AHPRA continue to grow,’ said Mr Shinkfield.

‘The independent National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) Review, undertaken by Mr Kim Snowball on behalf of health ministers, has also helped focus where we need work together even more closely to be more efficient and effective in our regulatory work.’ 

Macular Disease Foundation Australia Awards $1.3 Million In Research Grants PDF
Submit Your News
Australian News
Friday, 23 October 2015

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, awarded the successful recipients of the Foundation’s research grants program totalling $1.3 million, at a special event hosted at Admiralty House Sydney on World Sight Day 8 October 2015.

Macular Disease Foundation Australia has committed a total of $2.8 million to its research grants program since its inception in 2011. The program is for research into macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia, primarily affecting older Australians.

The grants have been awarded to Australian researchers for projects across a range of areas and this year the program includes a new grant, the Blackmores Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant. The 2015 research grants include:

  • Investigating the links between established environmental risk factors, such as a high fat diet and smoking, and how this may lead to the development of new diagnostics and treatments
  • Using a new diagnostic tool to better predict people at high risk of disease progression at a much earlier stage
  • The potential use of a blood test to predict or detect disease progression
  • How we can better map the optimal delivery of injections in the eye for wet macular degeneration
  • The effect of duration and frequency of treatment to support patients during their treatment journey and better guide clinicians and government in decision making
  • Defining the barriers to improved disease management and improving the delivery of optimal clinical care by optometrists

Blackmores Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, David Fenlon said “At Blackmores, we are passionate about investing in the future health and wellbeing of all Australians. We are proud to support research which will provide a greater understanding of macular degeneration and the role that nutrition and lifestyle plays in saving sight from this disease.”

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 118